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Apple aims for Holden’s core

iCommodore: Holden is likely to tap into Apple’s next-generation software that blurs the line further between car and smartphone.

Computing giant Apple rolls out a version of its software just for cars

Holden logo11 Jun 2013


HOLDEN vehicles including the locally made Commodore large car and smaller Cruze are in line to become fully functioning Apple iPhones on wheels.

Apple today flagged plans to add its software to cars to make them more user-friendly for owners of its mobile products, demonstrating how it would look on a screen mounted in a Chevrolet Aveo – sold in Australia as a Holden Barina.

Dubbed ‘iOS in the Car’, the new system will allow a car’s multimedia system to link with a future version of Apple’s operating system, and provide an “Apple-designed experience into the car for the first time”.

Holden has revealed that with the rollout of the significantly updated VF Commodore large car, it has become the proving ground for GM’s infotainment systems that blur the line between the car and smartphones.

The new Commodore will soon start selling in the US rebadged as a Chevrolet – one of the car brands Apple has identified as an early adopter of the new system.

Holden’s infotainment system is also shared with the Australian-built Cruze, suggesting that if the Commodore adds full iPhone integration by Apple’s 2015 timeline, the Cruze will get it too.

The new in-car integration, which will port many of the iPhone’s features to an interface optimised for the device, is based on a new version of Apple’s operating system known as Mavericks.

iOS in the Car, unveiled overnight at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, will also feature a better integration with Siri, Apple’s voice control system that can respond to basic commands.

According to Apple Australia corporate communications director Fiona Martin, it is even smart enough to realise when you are in the car and driving to work, and display traffic jams and arrival times.

“It’s all designed to let iPhone focus on what you need, so you can focus on the road,” she said.

Other car-makers expressing interest in rolling out Apple’s system include GM’s European subsidiary Opel, Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and its luxury brand Infiniti, Jaguar, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.

Developers at the conference – who were also given immediate access to the new operating system – were shown an image of an in-car screen on a Chevrolet Aveo displaying several generic-looking icons, and the icon Apple uses for its phone-based mapping software.

“Ninety per cent of the cars being sold today have integrated music control and playback from an (Apple-branded) iOS device,” Apple’s senior vice-president of internet services, Eddy Cue, told the conference.

“But we want to take this integration to a whole another level – what if you could get iOS on the screen that is built into your car so that you can make phone calls, play music, go to maps, get your iMessages in your car, or eyes-free using Siri,” Mr Cue said.

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